Last year (December, 2007) I had the honor and privilege of being invited to participate in the ALT.NET Leadership council in NY. I blogged about that here. This generated a large number of comments and a ton of conversations.
I was unfortunately, due to health reasons, not able to attend last month’s ALT.NET conference in Seattle. Some of my friends in DPE, like Peter Laudauti from New York. He’s posted a picture of the session board at http://blogs.msdn.com/peterlau/archive/2008/04/19/alt-net-open-space-seattle-schedule-grid.aspx. There were talks on IronRuby, DSLs, Mocking, Scaling Agile Teams, Test Driving Silverlight, Diversity, Pairing, F#, Funding Open Source Projects and many more great topics. I really wish I could have been there.
So, what is this ALT.NET thing. Really, it’s about about alternatives in .NET. It’s about listening to a multitude of sources of information and making an informed decision about the way that you’re going to do development. The guys that are at the ahead of this movement are heavy on Agile practices. Most of them are proponents of BDD (BDD for the TDD head), Refactoring, ORM (Object Relational Modelers) and so on. They lead with process and then find tools that help them get their jobs done. Sometimes that’s a different language, like Ruby, or a different IDE plugin, or a different source control system. But none of these tools, platforms, etc. should get in the way. They should lead to better process.
Are we talking about throwing out the current spiritual leaders in the .NET world? No… Jeremy Miller wrote a great article on CodeBetter.com called “We need ALT.NET To supplement the traditional .Net Leadership” that addressed the reasons behind it all.
Honestly, I don’t care what you call it. I agree with the fundamental principle that we should investigate many different ways of getting things done and make informed decisions. So, with that in mind, look for coming announcements about the Agile Summer Camp (hint, we’re actually going to go camping… 🙂 ).